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Media: Russian politician's wife planned to adopt kidnapped Ukrainian boy, abandoned him due to sickness

by Elsa Court April 29, 2024 10:02 PM 2 min read
The overgrown playground of the Kherson Children's orphanage, from where Russian forces allegedly took almost 50 children, is seen on November 27, 2022. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
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The wife of Russian politician Sergey Mironov forcibly took a Ukrainian girl and boy from occupied Kherson to adopt them, but abandoned the boy after it became clear he had ill health, Ukrainian news outlet TSN reported on April 28.

News emerged in November 2023 that Mironov, a leader of a Russian political party and a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with his wife, Inna Varlamova, had adopted a girl who had been removed from a children's home in Kherson while the city was under Russian occupation.

Mironov and Varlamova named the girl Marina Mironova, but her real name is Marharyta Prokopenko. Marharyta's sister, Anya, is being raised by her godmother, who is the legal guardian of the children, TSN said.

Ukraine demands that Russia ensure "the urgent return of Marharyta to her sister and, thus, the reunification of a Ukrainian family," Ukraine's Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets told TSN.

According to TSN, Mironov and his wife also planned to illegally adopt a Ukrainian boy named Illia Vashchenko.

Ten-month-old Marharyta and two-year-old Illia were among around 50 children who went missing from Kherson Regional Children's Home when Russian forces took control of the city at the start of the full-scale invasion.

Both children were taken to Moscow in September 2022, but Varlamova abandoned the boy in October 2022 when it became clear he had health issues, TSN reported.

The Ukrainian authorities have no information about where the boy is now, TSN said.

The Ukrainian government has identified over 19,500 children who have been deported or forcibly displaced by Russia, less than 400 of whom have been returned to Ukraine.

The ICC issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian official Maria Lvova-Belova in March 2023 for their role in overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Abducting the future: How Ukrainian parents fight to rescue their children from Russia
One thought helped Yevhen Mezhevyi overcome the ordeal of Russian captivity – the thought of his three young children. Single father Mezhevyi, 40, was captured by Russian troops at a checkpoint when he and his children were fleeing their war-torn hometown of Mariupol last spring. For 45 days, Mezh…
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